I visited Union Cemetery again today and saw something that was (at least to me) a little odd. The last time I was there, as I wrote about a few weeks ago, it was raining and the only company I had was a rather plump groundhog. But today was altogether different. It was warm, it was sunny, it was definitely not raining, but most of my company was still a rather plump groundhog.
This isn’t to say that there was no one there. There were plenty of people driving through, which is understandable due to the size of the cemetery. There were countless joggers and groups of high-school students running on the paths. There was even a young lady getting her graduation pictures taken. But there was no one appreciating the cemetery as a cemetery, any differently than they would a park. They didn’t stop to read the stones or sit by them, but were just enjoying the aesthetics of the space.
I’ll admit, at first this bothered me. It seemed ‘wrong’ that the history of the place wasn’t being explored, or that the final homes of so many people were not being acknowledged. It seemed altogether to causal to be enjoying the cemetery for what it is in the simplest sense: simply a space open and welcoming to everyone, regardless of… everything. No one is required to fit in, or have this or that ability to do or appreciate what someone else feels like they should appreciate. Cemeteries are made for everyone and anyone, and they couldn’t be any less discriminatory.
So in the end I think it is a good thing, and I’m glad I saw it. Because everyone there today was just being themselves, doing their thing and not worrying about anything. They weren’t digging into the history of the place and that was okay, because they were loving it for the simple beauty that it is.